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66 West Passed!

Posted: September 10, 2014

It has been a busy summer in the Office of Social Justice at St. Patrick’s! The Social Justice Commission and the Office of Social Justice have been engaged in advocacy on behalf of the 66 West project over the last several months! An effort this large was successful, because of the leadership of Edina Community Lutheran Church and Beacon Interfaith Ministries. They were able to galvanize the support of numerous congregations from Edina, community agencies and individuals! We are grateful to all of the supporters who called, wrote over 500 emails and letters, testified and showed up at the hearings!

This project would never have been approved without key support at the City of Edina. We are grateful to the planning staff for endorsing the project. We are also grateful to Kevin Staunton, Chair of the Edina Planning Commission and all of the Commissioners for approving the project on a 4 to 1 vote on August 13. There was lengthy testimony, over four hours. It was followed by spirited debate! The proceeding ended at 12:45 am! Over 200 supporters were at the meeting! 

The next step in the process was the Edina City Council. There were two separate votes! The first vote required a, “super majority,” 4 out of 5 votes to receive a variance in the Medical District. The second vote required 3 out of 5 votes to allow Beacon to be the developer! There was lengthy testimony which stretched for a couple of hours! Spirited debate and questions followed the testimony. Mayor Hovland was able to secure both votes which were unanimous! Over 150 supporters wearing green showed up for the hearing!

At both hearings, Fr. Tim Rudolphi and Bob Hobbins, Social Justice Commissioner testified! They both made compelling statements! Both votes were, “nail biters”…Every prayer, letter, phone call, email, testimonial and person who showed up made a difference! These were tough decisions that required careful consideration and courage! 

This is a big, “win!” for Edina and for the 39 young adults who will have a chance to build a life at 66 West! The work is not finished yet! Beacon and ECLC will be working on funding sources for the project! After they secure the funds, construction will begin which will take approximately 12 months! This topic will be covered in more detail at our October 9 Fall Forum Speaker event at St. Martin’s Hall! Please join us!

Again, we are grateful to Fr. Tim, the Social Justice Commission and all of you for supporting the project! If you would like to read some of the coverage on 66 West, please click here.

     --Maura Schnorbach